“We’re always looking for ways to ensure that our properties are operating as safely and securely as possible,” says KayLee Hansen, Delta Whistler Village Suites’ director of people resources. “The COR certification gives us a measurable benchmark to work from and provides opportunities for improvement.”
Hansen is referring to the Certificate of Recognition that her hotel decided to seek in the winter of 2010 and which she believes complements companies that have a well-established culture of safety.
Delta Whistler’s certification, on Dec. 23, 2010, came less than a month after Delta Vancouver Suites became the first tourism-related organization in British Columbia to earn the status from go2HR, on Nov. 30, 2010. Delta Vancouver Suites’ director of people resources, Tety Partaatmadja, agrees that COR provides a measurable benchmark. “During the auditing process I also learned that we can benchmark against and obtain ideas from other industries, even ones as unlikely as forestry.”
Delta’s enthusiasm for COR is understandable in light of the fact that hotels deal with unique health and safety factors. “For example, we have policies for things such as guest-room security that other industries obviously wouldn’t have,” says Hansen. “Other H&S [health & safety] factors are focused on the physical requirements of the job, and examples would include large amounts of lifting, bending, cutting, etc.” She adds that initiatives such as COR are essential “to maintain ourselves as an employer of choice.”
Partaatmadja describes her audit, which occurred in November 2010 and lasted three days, as fundamentally “rewarding. Amongst many other things, the process gave us tools that we can use to find the root causes of accidents, so we can put strategies in place to prevent further recurrences and injuries.” Delta Whistler’s audit was similarly productive. “Our auditor made the entire process easy and was flexible to our needs as a business in terms of scheduling and logistics,” says Hansen, who thinks it would have been beneficial to have more key individuals take specific health and safety courses offered by Employers’ Advisers Office prior to the process. “We now have a plan in place to ensure this happens,” she says. The suggestions in the resulting report have allowed her team to “assign actions and responsibility to particular team members. This will allow us to focus on areas of opportunity and make certain we are in full compliance with all aspects, within allotted time frames.”
While COR does offer as much as a 15 per cent financial incentive on annual WorkSafeBC premiums, Delta Vancouver Suites management looks forward to using its certification immediately for employee recruitment and retention purposes. “COR proves we have all the H&S elements in place and are looking out for everyone’s best interests,” says Partaatmadja. “We’re already discussing how we can market the certification, because all our stakeholders, including employees, guests and business partners, are always seeking some sort of validation of effective security systems and H&S programs.”
Not surprisingly, both HR executives are eager to share their experiences and impart advice to others who may be curious about obtaining COR. “You might not feel ready for the process, but my advice would be to jump in with both feet,” says Partaatmadja. “You shouldn’t feel daunted. For one thing, you get the audit checklist ahead of time, so there are no surprises.”
Hansen has concluded that if effective health and safety procedures are already in place, then COR “allows for more of a tweaking of certain areas as opposed to a complete overhaul of the current program. In the end, companies should expect to gain only positive benefits from participating in a COR audit.”